Fri. Mar 1st, 2024

Bangladesh votes on Sunday for legislative elections guaranteed to offer Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina a fifth term, after a boycott of opposition parties decimated by a massive wave of arrests.

Under the leadership of Ms. Hasina's party, the Awami League, the world's eighth most populous country, once plagued by extreme poverty, has seen accelerated growth. However, the government has also been accused of systematic human rights violations and ruthless repression of the opposition, which Ms. Hasina has described as a terrorist organization.

The Amawi League has virtually no opponents in the constituencies it is contesting. However, it failed to present candidates in a few of them, in an apparent attempt to avoid the unicameral Parliament being seen as the instrument of a single party.< /p>

Some voters say they were threatened with confiscation of their government benefit cards, needed to obtain social benefits, if they refused to vote. vote for the Awami League.

They told me they would confiscate it if I didn't vote, Lal Mia, 64, who votes in Faridpur district, in the center of the country, told AFP. They said that since the government feeds us, we must vote for it.

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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in October 2023. (File photo)

The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and other parties staged protests last year to demand the resignation of the prime minister and promote a government neutral interim to supervise the elections, but without success.

On Saturday, police arrested seven BNP members, including a senior party official in Dhaka, accused of sabotage after a fire the day before on a crowded commuter train that killed at least four people and injured eight.

Several fires have occurred since last year on the railway network and Sheikh Hasina accused the BNP of being behind them.

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